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Valencia

Valencia’s trying to hold to the present but Annalee’s blood sat just keeps dropping. “Sixteen,” says the EMT, “fifteen five, fourteen,” and the world jerks like film reversing.

“Shit,” says Valencia, six years in the future.

“What?” asks Annalee. They’re in their cubicle at the Center, results scrolling down the screen like every day.

“This doesn’t mean anything.” Valencia’s shaking. “Just because you’re alive here doesn’t mean you survived back then.”

Annalee’s eyes widen. “So it was already happening to you!”

“I promise to admit it,” says Valencia, “if you wake up,” and counts down to the kickback, fourteen, thirteen, twelve.

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